[WATCH] ADPD takes on electoral discrimination in constitutional proceedings

Malta's green party will be challenging the validity of the electoral system, arguing that it discriminates against third parties

ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo
ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo

ADPD has officially launched constitutional proceedings to challenge the validity of the electoral system, arguing that it discriminates against third parties.

The proceedings are a reaction to a recent corrective mechanism adopted by parliament which would allocate additional parliamentary seats to reduce gender imbalance.

“However, this mechanism will only apply if Parliament is composed of members of parliament from only two political parties. In the event of the election of a third party, this adjustment mechanism to reduce gender imbalance will not apply,” ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said on Tuesday.

During a press conference on the issue, Cacopardo said that while this was the initial reason behind launching legal proceedings, he added that a proportionality mechanism embedded in the Constitution is also discriminatory against third parties, rendering the whole electoral system discriminatory by design.

The mechanism in question provides for an adjustment to the number of parliamentary seats even if it does not correspond to the proportion of votes.

“This is when it occurred to us that we have to tackle the whole system,” he added. “Together, there two mechanisms consolidate a discriminatory barrier through which a two-party parliament keeps out other parties.”

“The recent amendments have added to the situation, and for us it is the last straw,” he told MaltaToday.

Cacopardo further explained that ADPD has not yet put forward a detailed alternative to the gender corrective mechanism because these concepts need to be accepted in principle first.

However, ADPD had suggested earlier this year that a party obtaining 2.5% or more votes nationally should be guaranteed representation in parliament.

He also expressed disappointment in the fact that neither party wanted to discuss these proposals with them prior to the mechanism being adopted. “They never gave us a chance to discuss,” Cacopardo said.

The court case was filed by lawyer Claire Bonello.